Never tried that. No separation ?
ATK / Cooks Illustrated and others have explained the food chemistry involved. Smooth melting though of course cheeses like cheddar will break if allowed to energetically boil…
Serious eats’ modernist mac and cheese is in the oven as we speak. So far so good but I can tell from tasting the sauce that a less aged cheddar would probably work better. I’m using 3 year aged Cabot cheddar (Costco) and it was pretty aggressive mixed with the sodium citrate. I will report back on the results.
It certainly was easier to do the immersion blending of the cheese than my usual roux-making.
I was making a smaller amount of M&C today, to use up about a third of a box of pasta. I wasn’t going to bother with making white sauce, so just started stirring shredded cheese, two slices of processed cheese food, and light cream into the cooked pasta. When I spotted a partial can of great northern beans in the fridge, what the hell? About 5 oz, including the thick juices. After a half hour in a low oven, the dish had a very smooth, creamy sauce. The mild beans were barely noticeable. Since cheesy casseroles can be, ahem, binding, I will add this to my bag of tricks.
As a follow-up to my mac’n’cheese recipe 'way up there: I was bothered by the rather dry character of the dish in its original form, and realized that it was the eggs doing it. So I stopped adding those, and the dish came out much better.
But wait, there’s more! One day it occurred to me that steamed, broken up and seasoned cauliflower would be good treated this way, and its extra moisture would be balanced if I put the eggs back in. So I tried it, and it’s become a regular offering at home and at potlucks.
biondanomina: your thought of subbing tofu is interesting. I have some relatives that are carb-phobic in the face of Weight Watchers. I’ll add that cooking for them once, I used shreds of cabbage in place of rice noodles for a Pad Thai, and it was awesome (not just good, “awesome”). I wonder if cabbage could sub for pasta in a mac and cheese? Would probably have to be sweated well before baking.